Thousands of West Ham United fans have lined the streets of east London for a victory parade after the squad lifted their first major trophy in more than 40 years.
A bus carrying the Hammers emblazoned with the sign “Winners” struggled to make its way through the sea of delighted supporters celebrating their team’s 2-1 win against Fiorentina in Prague on Wednesday night.
Players travelling on the open-top double-decker bus let off claret and blue flares amid the deafening sound of cheering crowds on the ground.
Fans were seen on the statue of the late West Ham and England captain, Bobby Moore, while others climbed on top of traffic lights to get the best view of the squad.
Bubbles also floated through the sky, honouring the team’s famous chant, “I’m forever blowing bubbles”.
West Ham tweeted footage of the celebrations, describing their supporters as “the best fans in the world”.
They claimed their first piece of silverware since lifting the FA Cup in 1980 and their first European trophy since 1965.
The historic victory – secured by Jarrod Bowen scoring the winning goal in the 90th minute – saw the stadium erupt in celebrations which continued into the early hours of the morning.
Dancing, singing and the streets a sea of claret and blue: West Ham fans enjoy ‘euphoric’ celebrations after European success
It was a day West Ham fans have been dreaming about for decades, and they made sure the players and coaching staff onboard the open topped buses knew exactly what Wednesday’s victory meant to them.
“It’s euphoric,” said Roberta Moore – the daughter of England and West Ham legend Bobby Moore, who was the last captain to win a trophy in Europe.
She wasn’t wrong. The atmosphere on those buses was incredible; you looked out over a sea of people in claret and blue, walking with the team, hands in the air, while being deafened by thousands of people singing, cheering and shouting.
It must have meant the world to the players, who didn’t stop dancing, singing and throwing merchandise down to the fans for the entire journey.
As for the fans themselves, I saw plenty of tears, both from those who had never seen West Ham lift a trophy in their lifetime, and those who remembered the good old days, and feared for a time that they never would again.
Talk of recent criticism over David Moyes management, or Declan Rice’s expected departure from the club, was all forgotten.
“For now” one beaming fan told me, “none of that matters, we’re just here to enjoy this moment and celebrate our team.”
He’ll be hoping they don’t have decades to wait until they can celebrate like that again.
The win saw captain Declan Rice – likely to leave the club this summer – become the third West Ham skipper, aside from Bobby Moore and Billy Bonds, to lift silverware in the club’s 128-year history.
He told Sky Sports News: “When you’re a kid, and you love football as much as I do, as the lads do, you see teams have trophy parades.
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“I was once a kid watching teams do trophy parades and to now be on one and captain the side last night, is so, so special, I can’t even put it into words, it’s not hit me yet.”
Bowen said the silverware “means the world” to the team and their fans.
Manager David Moyes was seen drinking a beer and dancing to The Proclaimers song I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) along with players in the team’s changing room after their win.
The victory parade started at the Champions Statue – a bronze tribute to Moore, Sir Geoff Hurst, Martin Peters, and West Ham’s 1965 European Cup Winners’ Cup success – on Barking Road, close to the team’s former home at Upton Park.
It was due to travel through Plaistow and West Ham before finishing with an event at Stratford town hall.